Pink eye could be a Covid-19 symptom for some

CAPE TOWN- Growing evidence suggests that conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a rare and early symptom of Covid-19, with experts estimating it could be present in 1-3 percent of cases. While the two symptoms are not a common pairing, it could indicate early stages of the infection.

In the early days of the pandemic, a group from Wuhan, China reported seeing a small number of Covid-19 patients who also had pink eye, however, the condition was rare.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pink eye is considered one of the less common symptoms of Covid-19. While the virus affects different people in different ways, the most common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, and tiredness.


Conjunctivitis occurs when either a bacterial or viral infection causes redness and inflammation. The virus infects a tissue called the conjunctiva, which covers the white part of your eye or the inside of your eyelids. Symptoms include red, swollen, or itchy eyes.

Having a pink eye, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Covid-19. The more likely causes are the many different viruses, bacteria, chemicals, and allergens that can irritate your eyes.

The eye infection is highly contagious and can be spread via skin-to-skin contact, or by touching a contaminated surface, such as a doorknob.

During Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate, Mike Pence’s left eye appeared red and swollen which led internet users to guess that he has pinkeye, a known symptom for Covid-19.

United States President Donald Trump revealed in a tweet last week that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

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